At last, I have voted. This morning, I wasn't so eager to show up at the polling booth, I took my time and arrived there around eleven a.m. Last week's postponement was still weighing me down, plus here in Ile-Ife , federal constituency (house of representatives) elections were postponed yesterday. Perhaps you can understand why I wasn't bent on arriving at the booth too early.
However, most of the other voters at the polling booth were not like me. There were many people on the queue before I arrived. The process was orderly and at four p.m, the votes were counted. So many people were determined to see for themselves that the votes were counted and recorded, men, women, young and old stood by to defend the power of their thumbs. There was a sense of hope in the air, instilled by the fact that up to that point the process was working. I remember the 2007 elections, there was absolutely no polling booth! We had to go from place to place, looking for a place to cast our votes. Now to stand on the same spot where four years ago we almost searched for polling booths under the foliage and partake in a process that actually worked? It felt like a miracle.
The turnout was impressive, at least two pregnant women stood in line and one (heavily pregnant) waited till the votes were counted and recorded. A couple brought their little son and explained the process to him as they stood in line. There was a strong sense of something close to patriotism. For me it was an emotional moment in which I hoped, prayed, wished and pleaded that one day, very soon we will get to that point where this process will be one that works all the way. Wouldn't it be wonderful if this is the year? If this is the election that takes us there?One must however admit that the violence marring the elections might be an indication that we are not as close to that point in our history as we should be.It is such a tragedy that while up till now those who carried out the previous bomb attacks that we have witnessed in this country have not been apprehended, the trend continues and this time has claimed the lives of over thirteen people including youth corpers. What are the implications for future polls? How willing will registered voters in Suleja and Maiduguri be to come out and vote next week?